I beg your pardon?

Wednesday has arrived and here I am back on the commuter trek into London. After Monday's fiasco, one can only hope the management at TFL have learnt their lesson and not created as much dust in the tube. Apparently there was so much dust disturbance as a result of our old friend the 'engineering works' that the drivers were unable to see where they were going. Aside from the obvious discomfort this causes for drivers (and probably passengers alike) I do have to wonder why they need to see where they are going? After all, it's dark and they're on rails. Start and stop at station platforms. It's not rocket science (and we all know what trouble those sort of assumptions cause).

I'm sure you're aware there are many 'Mass Transit Systems' (to give them their more formal title) around the world that are mostly automated. The driverless train is a tried and tested phenomenon in some nations and it's not beyond the wit of man to get a train to stop at a precise predetermined point on a platform. In fact I believe that somewhere around parliament the existing trains do exactly that. From memory it may be the Jubilee Line. It's all bit chicken and egg though. An automated system doesn't have human error, but when it breaks down (and it will because it's designed by fallible humans) it requires human intervention to fix it again. The never ending problem and the bane of all automation engineers lives no doubt.

In conversation with the Badman yesterday he reminded me of the joy of public transport eavesdropping and of forming an immediate and irrational hatred of your fellow passengers. I need to point out here, that that (the hatred part) is something I actively do not do. This has the unfortunate result of leaving me as the strange individual that's smiling for no apparent reason. But it makes me happy even if you do hate me before you've met me. As for conversation, it's a little unfair to call it eavesdropping which implies one hiding under the eaves of a building and listening to the conversation dropping out. Overhearing is much nearer the truth, I'm hearing and then I'm over-hearing. Just turning up my listening volume and tuning into voices. A table seat also affords yet more over-reading opportunities as well. I digress. Let's get to the meat....

Another EU meeting taking place today. This time a woman involved in the sports council. Some comment on the preventive activities of betting operators among other things. I'm far from riveted. As is the bloke sat opposite. He's trying to read Haruki Murakami, £7.99 RRP. "Evocative, entertaining, sexy and funny" according to Time Out, but he's not gripped and has fallen asleep.

I've been enjoying today's overheard in flight conversations far more. These have consisted of (in no particular order)

Butchering. "It's not what it used to be." he said. "We used to stand out the front of the shop shouting. Now there's no one to shout at."

Getting your handbag nicked. "I always tell my misses to put hers under the leg of the chair or not to bring it at all." "Hello Brian, it's James." said James (surname supplied but redacted) "I'm paying you a visit on Friday. You'll be there will you? See you about 9.30"

"Just looking at the layout here. I can see there's some long rooflights. Sort of six panels." he offered "They're nice detailed drawings aren't they?"

"She can't carry on like this. It's just not working is it and she's not on it. She's on the opposite team." said the woman at the back on the phone. "I know it sounds awful but she doesn't know" and "They're all frightened of the comeback"

"Hailstones the size of golfballs!"

My personal favourite today: Trains. "Those regional ones are a bit clickety clackety aren't they"

It really is a joy - this brief insight into peoples lives. A tiny window through which we can glimpse a moment an construct our own back stories. It's a writers Inspirational dream isn't it?

Here we go again then. Just speeding through slough and not a bomb in sight. Once more into the breach dear friends, once more. Well, being loaded into the tube isn't too dissimilar.

Have a great day dear reader.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous


  1. Yep, I'm with you on this one. I'm not sure its a "hatred" more an irritation caused by the intrusion of their lives on my contemplations. I tend to use the Chiltern Line which has "quiet carriages" so am legitimately allowed to be annoyed by discussions with, and by, Estate Agents and such like :-)


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